We always have much fun celebrating Halloween! Here are some of my favorite activities and games you can use with your preschoolers and kindergarteners.
Face Painting never fails to excite children, especially when they get to paint their own faces! We had much fun celebrating our strengths and special powers of who we chose to be on Halloween… Special power princess gems and sun rays, anyone? A mask for the turtle ninja with glitter for protection that can make you invisible? The children were so excited about this! Many smiles, much connection, and no limit their imagination! Plus, you need serious focus and good hand-eye coordination when trying to paint on yourself in the mirror! Try non-toxic face paint.
Toddlers love working independently as they are discovering their own autonomy (and limitations), appreciate materials they can choose from and are able to handle without major help from you. For Halloween I set out old cardboard buckets and Halloween themed felt pieces I’ve found in storage, added tempera paint mixed with white school glue, paintbrushes, various collage materials (stickers, tissue papers etc.) and invited the children to create with them. We ended up using the containers as trick-or-treat buckets for Halloween.
We did some pre-drawing of “the scariest monsters ever” before we got out the sharpies to draw monsters on canvas bags inspired by Meri Cherry’s Trick-or-Treating Bags. There’s no limit to our imagination… We drew a ghost, a slimy monster, a monster in a school bus with lots of eyes, a scary insect, a scary penguin, a spooky cat and a potato with two legs and painted right over it with liquid watercolors.
Itsy Bitsy Spider Play
We all know the popular itsy bitsy spider nursery rhyme and fingerplay, right? Halloween seems like a perfect time to engage in all kinds of spider adventures.
The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout.
Down came the rain
and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun
and dried up all the rain
and the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.
Spider Water Sensory Play
How about adding a itsy bitsy spider themed water sensory bin to all the fun? These children stayed busy all morning washing the spiders down the spout, pouring and measuring water, seeing which angle and technique worked best. Casual humming and itsy bitsy spider singing could be heard all day long :).
We also pretended to be witches for a while and explored all kinds of spider potions and slime, using our senses and words to describe different smells and textures: “This is sticky, gooey, slimy, slippery, mucky etc.”, “It’s getting colder!”. The children mixed non-toxic slime with 1 Tablespoon Psyllium Husk Powder, 1 cup of cold water, glitter and pumpkin guts in a big plastic bin. Throw in some spiders and a wood spoon and you’re ready to make slimy potions for Halloween. Let everyone decorate a spooky Mason jar with sticky googly eyes, scrap construction paper and foam shapes to take their potions home (sorry, I forgot to take photos). Eeek!
And how about playfully learning more about spiders? We wondered about how spiders know when they caught something to eat. We built a spiderweb inspired by Buggy and Buddy and had one child hold onto the web with his/her eyes closed while another child plucked the string. The child with his/her eyes closed could feel different vibrations. Just like a real spider that can feel the vibrations in her web, we could feel strong and weak vibrations, judging if there is something to eat! No peeking!
Spider obstacle course
Of course spiders are very busy building their spiderwebs. Our itsy bitsy spider had spun her web and made a obstacle course for us. We had to catch sweets from her web without touching it, and balanced and hopped over many obstacles to scoop up more sweets from the secret spiders treasure chest (one child at a time)! After that we got together and counted and shared our sweet treasures.
We played some games that involved:
Dancing on a magic carpet: Scatter some newspaper sheets on the floor. Form pairs and invite each pair to stand on one of the newspaper sheets. Play some music and invite the children to hop and dance. Any pair touching the floor is out of the game (we just continued playing all together but made sure to give the pair credit at the end that touched the ground the least). When the music stops, fold the newspaper in half. Repeat until everyone falls off the newspapers.
Musical chairs: Invite the children to dance around chairs with one fewer chair than players. When the music stops everyone has to quickly find a chair. In the less competitive version TeachPreschool shared on Facebook the children who can’t find a chair anymore pick a friend instead to share a chair, sit on their the lap etc. Remove more chairs as the game goes on until there is only one chair left. Can everyone fit on one chair???
Chasing a witch around our circle and casting spells: This is a variation of duck-duck-goose. Stand in a circle. Pick a witch. The witch walks in a circle, tapping gently on each child’s head, saying “ghost-ghost-ghost… witch” until the chosen child has to chase and tap the witch to avoid becoming the next witch. If the child catches the witch, the witch can put a spell on everyone first before it has to go around the circle again. Our witches had much fun casting singing, dancing, crab-walking and barking spells on everyone during our game.
Crouching down as pumpkins in a pumpkin patch: Have the children find a place in the room and crouch down to look like pumpkins. The teacher walks around the room saying: “Pumpkin Patch, pumpkin patch. Looking for a pumpkin in a pumpkin patch. Here’s one nice and fat, turn into a jack-o-lantern just like that!” (tap child). The chosen child gets up and joins the teacher by the hand to repeats the rhyme until all the children have been chosen. This is very nice to calm down after a day of Halloween excitement, just in time for parents to pick up their children!
The newspaper dance was one of the children’s favorite game!
I hope you’ll have a fantastic Halloween!